July 29, 2016

No. 53 Federico Delbonis Surprises No. 2 Andy Murray in Third Round of BNP Paribas Open

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(March 14, 2016)  INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 53 Federico Delbonis 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday in a two-hours and 46 minutes.

The southpaw from Argentina trailed 1-4 to the Brit in the third set, won five of the next six games to serve for the match at 6-5. Murray broke Delbonis’ serve to get to a tiebreak which Delbonis won 7-3 to get the biggest victory of his career. Murray’s loss is the biggest upset of the men’s tournament so far.

“Obviously a tough one to lose in the end, having, you know, kind of fought hard to get myself in a winning position you know, 4-1-up,” Murray said.

“The 4-2 game that I got broken was a tough one in the third set. I was up 30-Love in the game and had a few volleys in that game. You know, he came out with some good passing shots. I could have done a bit more with the volleys maybe.

“But, yeah, I didn’t play a great tiebreak. That was disappointing. Obviously he had the chance to serve it out, and then I got back in there and didn’t play a great breaker.”

Murray has not had a great history at Indian Wells, with his best result coming in 2009 when reached the final. “I think it’s just the conditions here I have just struggled with throughout my career. I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here.

“I have tried and had many different preparations where I’ve got here early and spent a lot of time on the courts, and sometimes I arrive later, like this time from Davis Cup. You know, obviously it takes time to get used to new conditions regardless of where it is, but I have just never really found a way to get comfortable here throughout my career.

“It’s a shame.”

 

Asked if this was his biggest win, Delbonis said: “No, I have like a couple of big wins, but in situation was special, you know. For that tournament, for that surface, for me is the best win.

“And, well, I have — I was like quiet all the match that I know he wants to be aggressive in that third set. I don’t do it my job until the 4-1. I have to play it more to his forehand.

“That, when I do that, I can break. I can play from the 4-2 to the tiebreak and I get a big win for that, you know.

“I have another one (win). The title in Sao Paulo I think is the best one.”

Delbonis did beat Roger Federer when he was No. 5 in the world three years ago in Hamburg.

Asked about his strategy to hit to Murray’s forehand, the Argentine commented: I know that his backhand is pretty good when he’s quiet, you know, in one side. I know that I have to play, hit harder in his forehand to get a good hit or a good position the court, to be aggressive or to move it to him, because this is one of the keys to get a good point.”

“I feel good the surface because it’s not too fast,” he said. “For me, I can slice in that kind of court. I like it. Also, I like it in Australia. Every tournament I come this year I like it so much. I like to play in that kind of court, in that hard courts not so fast.

“For me it’s a good court to be aggressive.”

For Murray, this is the first tournament he has played as a father. February 7, his wife Kim gave birth to a baby girl named Sophia.

A couple of surprises on the women’s side of the draw included former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, seeded 14 lost to 18th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-0 and No. 7 Belinda Bencic was on the short end of a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 score to unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova. With all of the upsets on the women’s side, No. 9 seed Roberta Vinci, who beat 17th seed Elina Svitolina, remains the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw.

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet won 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Alexandr Dolgopolov. No. 12 seed Milos Raonic advanced when 17th seed Bernard Tomic retired with a right wrist injury down. 6-2, 3-0. Tomic’s injury puts a question mark on his participation at the Miami Open.

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Davis Cup: Isner “Aces” Australia, Powers U.S. to Quarterfinals with Victory over Tomic

DAVIS CUP: ISNER “ACES” AUSTRALIA

Powers U.S. to Quarterfinals with victory over Tomic

By Junior Williams

(March 6, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – John Isner blasted 49 aces – including one on match point – to give the United States a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4) victory over Bernard Tomic and Australia, securing an unassailable 3-1 lead and advancing into the quarterfinal round of the Davis Cup World Group.

In the first set, Isner took advantage of his first break point opportunity with a successful backhand volley, putting the U.S. up 3-2.

The world No. 11 finished the set with ten aces and won all six of his net points.

Isner’s next break of serve came in the second set when Tomic netted a return from the American, resulting in a 4-3 U.S. lead. Tomic shook his right wrist numerous times during that game and had it wrapped during the changeover. Isner went on to win the set after a Tomic volley at net went wide.

The momentum shifted in the third set, when Tomic began impersonating a backboard, successfully defending against the Isner serve. The world number 24 secured the set on his fifth break point of the game, giving hope to a home crowd cheering for a comeback.

But in the end, Isner pulled through after being down a mini-break early in the fourth-set tiebreak, rebounding to go up 5-4 – putting the match on his racket.

It was only fitting that he closed out the match — and the tie — with his 49th ace.

”We always knew it was going to be very difficult coming down here,” said U.S. captain Jim Courier. ”Our team came good. John stepped up today.”

“It was incredible tie for us,” Isner said. “We knew Australia was going to be tough and they put up a great fight.”

With the victory, The U.S. avoided a fifth and deciding rubber that the Aussie faithful at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club had been hoping for: A potential match-up between American Jack Sock and Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.

Halfway through the second set Tomic was picked up on a court microphone berating his countryman Nick Kyrgios who could not play the tie due to a virus. Tomic said to Hewitt during a changeover: “While I’m here, Nick’s sitting down in Canberra. Bull**** he’s sick.”

Next up for the U.S. A home tie in July against the winner of the first round tie between Belgium and Croatia.

***************************************************************************************************

Some irony involving the U.S. victory over Australia: International Tennis Federation admitted the tie should have played on hard court instead of on grass. That’s because of an agreement in 1999 to have the Aussies play the Americans in the U.S. that year to celebrate the Davis Cup centennial – this despite it being Australia’s turn to host a tie between the two countries.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

 

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Davis Cup: Deadlocked Down Under, USA and Australia Tied at 1-1

 

DAVIS CUP: DEADLOCKED DOWN UNDER

U.S., Australia tied at 1-1 in World Group First Round

 

By Junior Williams

(March 4, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – On a sizzling hot afternoon which saw temperatures surge close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Bernard Tomic defeated Jack Sock 7-6(2), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, to bring Australia even with the United States at 1-1 in their Davis Cup World Group First Round tie at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

Tomic’s victory came after American John Isner dispatched Sam Groth 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 to give the U.S. an early lead.

It was a tight but impressive first set for Tomic, who won all 22 of his first serve points. His ball striking and defense of Sock’s ground strokes also gave the Australian the edge.

The world’s 20th-ranked player continued his momentum in the second set, securing it by breaking Sock with a shot that handcuffed the American on what was the fifth set point.

Sock bounced back in the third set, breaking Tomic for the first time in the match after the Australian mishit a ball past the baseline. The world number 24 also broke Tomic in the final game of the set.

But Tomic — who was 0-3 head-to-head against Sock prior to this match — took control in the fourth set, going up 5-4 winning a break point after rocketing a deep return of serve that Sock hit into the net.

Tomic closed out the 2 hour 24-minute match in the following game, to the delight of the home crowd. He won 120 points to Sock’s 114.

“It was very tough out there,” Tomic said. “I haven’t beaten Sock before so I knew that it was going to be tough. Anyone that you haven’t beaten before in your career – I think he’s on 2 or 3-0 record against me. So, for me I knew it was going to be tough but also playing him on a surface where I could beat him on and I was very happy because the conditions were very tough because I travelled so quickly here and you have to reset and you only have two or three days. So for me it was very tough out there.”

The top Australian admitted that it was difficult to get through the fourth set: “It was very tough because I had chances to be up a break in the third and then he got that break and it became a little bit hotter and after playing those first two sets everything got to me. So I had to find a bit of that energy and sometimes that’s good, I mean, I lapse away with my concentration a lot and that, to me, is a good thing because you rebuild your energy and it worked out in my favour in that fourth set. Gee, can you listen to that rain? I swear I finished and three minutes later it started.”

“Bernie did really well,” said Australian Davis Cup Captain Lleyton Hewitt. “Right from the start he came out serving great, hitting his spots really well. That was obviously a key to not let Jack get into too many of Bernie’s service games and we felt like Bernie’s going to get a lot more into his and put a lot more pressure on his second serve and he was able to do that. Bernie, the first set was a huge key as well and he played a great tie break, he picked the right side on a couple of shots and came up with a couple big passes and to have that first set, you know, it was hot out there as well especially those first couple of sets and once he went two sets to love up, he had a little lull there, which, you know, it happens in any five set matches. It’s about how you respond to that and he found a way in the fourth set. It’s not an easy thing to do to come out when you’re the number one player for your country and you’re one love down in Davis Cup in a World Group match. Bernie did fantastic today and he’s done absolutely everything that we’ve asked of him all week.”

“Bernie played some good tennis today when he needed to and came up with some good shots and, I’ll just take away you know the things I need to work on from that and take it into Sunday,” Sock said in press.

“Well we were put on grass, that’s the biggest difference I would say. I’ve played him on some slow hardcourts and some other hardcourts where you know my style definitely matches up well against and you know, his favourite surface is grass. His best results, you know, in the Slam are on grass and very crafty out there and his game is suitable for it. But, you know, I was in there and I felt confident after getting that third and then having a few chances early in the fourth, definitely felt like I was right. So, you know, for me my least experience has been on grass, so for me it actually did take away some confidence today playing out there against an experienced grass player and I’ll definitely use that for Sunday.”

In the opening match — a battle of high-powered servers — John Isner hit 20 aces and held serve throughout the match, despite six break point opportunities for Sam Groth, who was tapped to play singles for Australia after Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the competition due to illness.

The first set included a lot of what you’d expect, with eleven aces for Groth and ten for Isner. Groth also sprinkled in some doubles skills, winning four out of six net points. But Isner won a first set tiebreak, helped by a successful challenge that gave him a mini-break, and an ace up the middle to capture the set.

After that it was all Isner. Aside from his service game, the world No. 11 consistently cracked forehand and backhand winners up the sidelines. He also was helped by Groth’s first-serve percentage of 48-percent in the second set. The Georgia Bulldog notched his victory in 1 hour 49 minutes.

“It was a lot of confidence, you know, getting through that first set, I mean, I knew I was going to go out there, I knew I wasn’t going to be feeling fantastic right away,” Isner said. “Of course there’s a lot of nerves and you know, I haven’t seen his serve yet. So I got rid of those nerves in the first set and I got used to seeing the serve out there, so I became a lot more comfortable after that first set and I think it showed right away. I believe I broke the first game of the second set.

“So it was a very, very good performance for me and certainly I’ve played some matches in a lot in my career where I’ve struggled on return but I think today I was pretty solid.”

Isner commented on the court conditions with temperatures close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “Yeah I thought the court was great, he said. “The heat was pretty hot. It was more humid than I’ve ever played in Melbourne it’s generally dryer in my opinion, but it was pretty humid. At the same time in a match up like that, you tell me how many rallies we had more than five shots, so it could have been 200 degrees out there and I probably would have felt all right.”

“I think the first set was always going to be big, especially in the way we both play, we both play with a little bit of confidence, both play behind our serve and especially on a day where it’s quite hot out there as well,” Groth said. “You know, had I maybe taken a chance, that 0-40 game earlier, maybe it’s a different story but I felt like after that when he won that back-hand winner that clipped the line in the tie breaker and then his confidence just seemed to build. He started taking cuts on returns and, you know, to his credit they started going in.”

The tie now moves to doubles Saturday. Future Hall of Famers Bob and Mike Bryan are slated for the U.S., with Groth and doubles specialist John Peers scheduled to go for Australia.

But the watch is on to see if captain Lleyton Hewitt will put himself in the mix for the green and gold.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

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Lleyton Hewitt on Standby as a Playing Captain to Replace an Ill Nick Kyrgios in Davis Cup Tie

(March 3, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – Lleyton Hewitt, who just retired from professional tennis at his home country’s major in January looks as though his career will continue. Hewitt, the 35-year-old former No. 1, who is making his debut as Australia’s Davis Cup Captain, will be a playing captain due to Nick Kyrgios who has been ill with a virus and can’t participate. Hewitt is officially on standby to play the tie against the United States in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group this weekend to be played at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

Hewitt is Australia’s most accomplished Davis Cup player winning 58 of the 78 singles and doubles matches in his career.

“We took him (Nick Kyrgios) through his paces this morning and gave him a little fitness test to see how he pulled up from yesterday, but he just wasn’t fit enough to play this weekend,” Hewitt said. “It’s bad timing for us but it was really out of our hands and the end.”
“The illness is a kind of an unknown a little bit. You just don’t know,” Hewitt said “But obviously before nine o’clock this morning we had to make the best possible decision for the team, and we were dealing with Nick on everything. He wanted to put his hand up and certainly didn’t want to let the team down, and that’s why it was a tough decision for everyone involved.”

The draw for the tie took place in Kooyong on Thursday where Bernard Tomic, Sam Groth and John Peers were officially named to team Australia. Friday will see No. 1 U.S. player John Isner play Groth, followed by Australia’s top player Tomic face Jack Sock. Doubles day on Saturday as the Bryan Brothers are scheduled to play John Peers and Sam Groth. Sundya will be reverse singles – Isner versus Tomic and Groth against Sock.

U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier said he was not shocked to see Hewitt change the team.

“I wouldn’t say we are surprised given that we saw Lleyton practicing this week and Nick’s pretty conspicuous absence,” he said. “It is certainly not something coming to Australia that we were anticipating though. Nick is a very tough player who is on a high now with his results. However, Sam is a very capable grass court player and we won’t take him lightly for one second.

“I am sure that Lleyton will do whatever is best for his team. That’s his role. He is very aware of doing whatever is required to give him the best chance to win. He knows how everyone is feeling with health and length of matches. There are all types of combinations that could bring him to the court. That will be his call and we will be prepared.”

Jack Sock says he’s ready to take on friend Tomic on Friday. “It is going to be a very competitive and fiery match. He has had great results in Davis Cup and this is just my second tie, but we also played each other a few times in the past. It is a different scenario in Davis Cup, but I think the matches in the past will help me with my confidence and how to go about the match. We have always had some close matches and it comes down to a few points here or there. He is definitely playing some great tennis right now with some good results this year.”

Australia and the United States will be meeting for the 46th time. The U.S. team leads 25-20, last competing against the Aussies in the 1999 quarterfinals, when Australia won and went on take the Davis Cup title. The U.S. and Australia are the two leading nations with the most Davis Cup titles, 32 and 28 respectively.

Weekend Line-up

DAY/LOCAL MATCH TIME                  EVENT                    DETAILS/PAIRING

Friday, 11:00 a.m.                                   Singles A:                John Isner (USA) vs. Sam Groth (AUS)

Singles B:                Jack Sock (USA) vs. Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Saturday, 12:00 p.m.                               Doubles:                  Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Sam Groth/John Peers (AUS)

Sunday, 11:00 a.m.                                 Singles C:                John Isner (USA) vs. Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Singles D:                Jack Sock (USA) vs. Sam Groth (AUS)

 

Related Articles:

U.S. Versus Australia Davis Cup Tie To Air on Tennis Channel

Australia Takes On U. S. in Davis Cup This Weekend in Kooyong

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Australia Takes On U. S. in Davis Cup This Weekend in Kooyong

U. S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier

U. S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier

(March 1, 2016) The United States will take on Australia in the Davis Cup World Group First Round this weekend at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in Kooyong, Australia, from March 4-6 on a temporary grass court. The club was the former home to the Australian Open from 1972- 1987. The U.S. has met Australia more times than any other nation in Davis Cup play. The U.S. leads the head-to-head series 25-20.

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who retired at this year’s Australian Open will be making his debut as Australia’s Davis Cup captain. Hewitt has named world No. 20 Bernard Tomic, world No. 27 Nick Kyrgios, world No. 77 Sam Groth, and doubles specialist John Peers to team Australia.

Tomic holds a 15-3 singles record in Davis Cup competition, Kyrgios is 3-3 and Groth is 2-1 in singles and 1-2 in doubles. Peers is making his Davis Cup debut.

United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier has chosen top-ranked American and world No. 11 John Isner, world No. 24 Jack Sock, and 16-time major doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan to the U.S. Davis Cup Team. Isner is 8-9 singles in Davis Cup competition. Sock made his debut on the U.S. team last year in the World Group Playoff, where he won both of his singles matches, becoming the first American since John McEnroe in 1978 to win two live rubbers in a Davis Cup debut. Bob and Mike Bryan are a dominant 23-4 in Davis Cup doubles together and are the all-time winningest U.S. Davis Cup doubles team in history.

Both teams held a pre-draw news conference on Tuesday, the draw will be made on Thursday.

Kyrgios was absent from the news conference due to a virus said Captain Hewitt who told him to rest: “Nick has a virus. At the moment, he is taking it easy and trying to get over that 100% to be ready to go. I didn’t want him around the other boys if he is a bit infectious. It is more of a precaution. He will be ready.

“Nick has played a lot of matches, as well as Bernie. They are coming in confident with their ball striking and it is about these guys doing the small things to feel comfortable on the grass courts. Come match day, I am backing both of these boys.”

 

“I am lucky with both of these guys (Kyrgios and Tomic),” Hewitt said. “Both of their games suit grass with big serves and good returns. The reason both boys are approaching career-high rankings right now is because of their serves. That will be a big point this weekend because the U.S. team serves well, too. It will come down to a few points here or there, just like any grass-court five-set match, but I am glad our boys have won quite a few matches in the last month.”

Tomic is back from just having played the final of Acapulco over the weekend.

“It was tough to play a final then fly here,” Tomic admitted. It was tough to get here, but I am happy to be here. The hit today was good and now on grass, I need to get as ready as I can.

“It is tough to say if I will be 100% by Friday, but there will not be a lot of rallies. There will be quick points. I am serving really well and playing very confidently. I just played one of my biggest tournaments and I am very happy with the way I am playing and will be ready for the show on Friday”

On making the transition to being a captain from a player, Hewitt said: “I have adjusted pretty smoothly. This week has been all about getting these boys on the practice courts and working out drills. It has been good this week, especially with doubles, and learning what times to say something and other times not to say so much. I have been a good hitting partner.”

U.S. Captain Courier reacted to Hewitt’s comments about Australia being the underdog: “It doesn’t matter one bit. We are the away team and we travelled to get here. The crowd will be behind them. We are here to play whether it is as an underdog or overdog. None of that matters, which I wish it did. We have to go to battle and play.

“We have to get through the first tie, but our draw is more favorable this year than it has been,” said Courier in discussing the outlook for the U. S. in Davis Cup competition this year. “Second round matchups are not easy, but it is easier than some other teams for us. But, you cannot look past anyone in Davis Cup and we have learned that the hard way. You have to put one foot in front of the other and this will be a tough tie for us.”

“Jack (Sock) had a great debut as a Davis Cup player in Uzbekistan last year and that is big part of why he is here. We have a lot of confidence in what he brings to the table and he is getting valuable experience here. We have some younger players that have had good success in the juniors that is translating to the pros. It is nice to feel that energy coming up below our best players.”

“Every point is huge,” said Isner. “I have been playing Davis Cup for quite a bit, but not nearly as long as the Bryans. Jack is a bit newer at this. There is certainly pressure on every player that is competing this weekend and we know that. I don’t think there is any extra pressure on me by any means.

I am preparing for the team that has been submitted. It can change come Thursday, but as of right now, I am prepared for all of them.”

Sock discussed the challenge of taking on Tomic and Kygios this weekend.

On facing Bernard Tomic, Sock said: “We are good friends. We have spent some time together in our careers. However, in any setting on the court, we go out there and you put that aside and compete. Afterwards, you are still pretty good friends, but when it is on the court, that doesn’t really enter your mind.

He has always been a good player. He is consistently staying more professional and working on the things he needs to do and that is why his results are showing.”

As for Kyrgios: “Similar to Bernie, I am friends with Nick, but when you step on the court, it is about the tennis and playing each other.

“When you are off the court, you can still be friends. When you are out there playing, that is the only thing that matters—especially this weekend when you are representing your country. It gives me all the more reason to go out there and compete as hard as I can.”

The winner of this tie moves into the World Group Quarterfinal, July 15-17, and will play either Croatia or Belgium. The tie will air on Tennis Channel in the United States.

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Dominic Thiem and Sloane Stephens Win Singles Titles in Acapulco

Dominic Thiem and Sloane Stephens won the singles titles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco on Saturday night.

Theim defeated Bernard Tomic 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3, while Stephens took 3 hours and five minutes for an epic struggle of a victory over former Acapulco champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5).

For the Austrian Thiem, who went 13-1 for the month of February, it was his fifth career ATP World Tour title, his first not on clay. He won the Buenos Aires title a week ago.

For Sloane Stephens, it was her third WTA tournament victory and second of 2016. She also won in Auckland.

“It was unbelievable,” said the Austrian. “These three weeks have been amazing. Winning my first 500 title and first hard-court title, it was just perfect. It was how a final should be, between two young and up-and-coming players. I hope we’re going to play many more finals together. Both of us wanted to win so badly and I’m happy I was the one today.”

“It’s not easy, I’d love to win,” Tomic commented. “It could have been huge if I won, but I had a chance. That’s the biggest disappointment, having the chance to win. I’m frustrated with myself… I was leading in the first set and then I lost it and I was up a break in the third and gave away my serve straight away.

“But he was playing very well and he’s an amazing competitor. Every point he’s competing. He was feeling good on court and has been playing well all week. In the final of big tournaments, you have to take your chances in the big moments. I didn’t take it.”

The 22-year-old Thiem will move up the rankings to a career high No. 14.

The final was the third on the ATP World Tour to feature players born in the 1990s. Thiem has been involved with all three.

In men’s doubles, former World No. 1 Max Mirnyi is just two match wins away from joining the ‘700 Club’ winning his first title with Treat Huey. For Mirnyi it’s his 49th doubles title, seventh for Huey.

“It was a tough first round match against Guccione and Tomic and we somehow came out with the win there 14-12 in the tie-break,” Huey said. “We took a lot of momentum from that. I was feeling pretty sick the first few days and could barely get out of bed, but as Max said we just need to find a way. We did and we’ve been playing great tennis all week. It’s great to win a title and we’re having fun. The tournament here in Acapulco is unbelievable.”

“I told Treat that even though we’ve only been together for two months, we’ve been through a lot,” Mirnyi explained. “We’ve improved on our teamwork and things we need to do. Luckily today, in a big tournament like Acapulco, everything clicked. We played well at the same time which was important.”

“I got a little bit better today because of her, and I wouldn’t want to have this memory with anyone else,” Stephens said about her opponent Cibulkova during her trophy ceremony.

Stephens is perfect in finals at 3-0.

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2016 Australian Open – Day 2 Men’s Preview

Rod Laver Arena

2016 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 2 MEN’S NOTES

Tuesday 19 January

1st Round Bottom Half

Featured matches

 

No. 2 Andy Murray (GBR) v Alexander Zverev (GER)
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)

No. 5 Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
No. 8 David Ferrer (ESP) v (Q) Peter Gojowczyk (GER)

No. 13 Milos Raonic (CAN) v Lucas Pouille (FRA)

No. 16 Bernard Tomic (AUS) v Denis Istomin (UZB)

(WC) James Duckworth (AUS) v (WC) Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)

Adrian Mannarino (FRA) v Sam Groth (AUS)

 

On court today…

 

  • Former Australian Open champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka begin their latest Melbourne campaigns today. Nadal faces a repeat of his epic 2009 semifinal against Fernarndo Verdasco, which lasted 5 hours 14 minutes and preceded his only title in Melbourne, in the 3rd match on Rod Laver Arena. Wawrinka, meanwhile, heads to Margaret Court Arena to take on Dmitry Tursunov, who is contesting his first Grand Slam match since the 2014 US Open after 13 months on the sidelines with a foot injury.

 

  • Andy Murray, a 4-time runner-up here in Melbourne, begins his 40th Grand Slam with a 1st round clash against Alexander Zverev in the 2nd match on Margaret Court Arena. The pair met for the first time at the Hopman Cup earlier this month, with the 2-time Grand Slam champion defeating 18-year-old Zverev in straight sets.

 

  • Both the youngest and oldest players to start in the men’s main draw are in action today. Qualifier Taylor Fritz, aged 18 years 95 days, begins his Australian Open campaign against fellow American and No. 25 seed Jack Sock in the 4th match on Court 14. Qualifier Radek Stepanek, aged 37 years 65 days, will bid to become the oldest man to win a match at the Australian Open since Bob Carmichael (38 years 183 days) and Ken Rosewall (44 years 62 days) in 1978, when he takes on qualifier Tatsuma Ito in the 4th match on Court 20.

 

  • Lleyton Hewitt begins his final Australian Open against compatriot James Duckworth in the night match on Rod Laver Arena. It’s a 20th straight appearance at Melbourne Park for Hewitt, which puts him in equal-4th place on the list for most appearances at a single Grand Slam. Hewitt and Duckworth are 2 of the 7 Aussies in action today.

 

 

NO. 2 ANDY MURRAY (GBR) v ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

Head-to-head: first meeting

2016     Hopman Cup                Hard (I)            R2        Murray             63 64

 

MURRAY                                       v                                        ZVEREV

 

28                                          Age                                          18

2                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            83

35                                         Titles                                          0

153-37                     Career Grand Slam Record                       1-2

39-10                        Australian Open Record                          0-0

552-165                              Career Record                               18-24

374-107                        Career Record – Hard                           5-11

0-0                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

0-0                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

18-7                          Career Five-Set Record                          1-1

8                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

157-98                       Career Tiebreak Record                         8-12

0-0                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • 4-time Australian Open runner-up MURRAY is contesting his 11th straight Australian Open and 40th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Murray is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after losing 4 finals at any one Grand Slam. He finished as runner-up to Roger Federer here in 2010, and to Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Federer, at Roland Garros, and Ivan Lendl, at the US Open, are the only players to lose 3 Grand Slam finals at one major before winning the title in the Open Era.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2015, Murray reached the semifinals at Roland Garros (l. Djokovic) and Wimbledon (l. Federer). He fell to Kevin Anderson in the round of 16 at the US Open – the first time he had lost before the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam since the 2010 US Open.

 

  • Also in 2015, Murray won 4 titles including his first titles on clay at Munich (d. Philipp Kohlschreiber), where he became the first British player to win a Tour-level clay court title since Buster Mottram at 1976 Palma, and Madrid-1000 (d. Rafael Nadal). He also won the title at Queen’s (d. Anderson) and Montreal-1000
    (d. Djokovic).

 

  • Murray has not lost a 1st round Grand Slam match since the 2008 Australian Open (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).

 

  • Murray warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup. He won 2 of his 3 singles matches in Perth, defeating Kenny de Schepper and today’s opponent, but losing to Nick Kyrgios.

 

  • If he wins today, Murray will take sole occupancy of 8th place on the list for the most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era. He is currently level with Wayne Ferreira on 39 wins at Melbourne Park. If he reaches the final here, he would tie Pete Sampras in 7th place on 45 wins.

 

  • Murray is one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start in the men’s main draw here. Murray won the 2012 US Open title (d. Djokovic) and became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years in 2013 (d. Djokovic).

 

  • Murray is coached by 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo.

 

  • ZVEREV is looking to reach the 2nd round here on his Australian Open debut and equal his best Grand Slam performance.

 

  • Zverev is making his 3rd appearance at a Grand Slam. He reached the 2nd round on his Grand Slam debut at 2015 Wimbledon (d. Teymuraz Gabashvili, l. Denis Kudla) and fell in the 1st round as a qualifier at the 2015 US Open (l. Philipp Kohlschreiber). He has attempted to qualify for the majors on 3 other occasions, including unsuccessfully here in 2015.

 

  • Zverev’s best Tour-level result in 2015 was reaching the semifinals at Bastad (l. Tommy Robredo) and the quarterfinals at Washington (l. Marin Cilic). He also won the title at the Heilbronn Challenger (GER)
    (d. Guido Pella), breaking the Top 100 at No. 85 for the first time as a result. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 74 in June 2015 but plays here at No. 83.

 

  • Zverev warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won 1 of his 3 matches – defeating Kenny de Schepper but losing to Nick Kyrgios and today’s opponent.

 

  • Zverev is a former junior world No. 1. He was named 2013 ITF Junior World Champion and went on to win the boys’ singles title at the 2014 Australian Open (d. Stefan Kozlov). He also finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at 2013 Roland Garros and helped Germany reach the 2013 Junior Davis Cup Final (l. Spain).

 

  • Zverev is one of 8 former junior Australian Open champions in this year’s men’s main draw. Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era.

 

  • Zverev received the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award in 2015 for being the youngest player in the Top 100. At 2014 Hamburg he became the youngest player ever to reach an ATP 500 semifinal aged 17, falling to David Ferrer.

 

  • Zverev’s brother, Mischa, attempted to qualify for the Australian Open, falling to Taylor Fritz in the final round of qualifying.

 

  • Zverev is coached by his father, Alexander Zverev Sr. His physical trainer is Jez Green, who used to work with Murray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 STAN WAWRINKA (SUI) v DMITRY TURSUNOV (RUS)

Head-to-head: tied 1-1

2008     Sydney                         Hard (O)           R32      Tursunov          63 63

2013     Kuala Lumpur               Hard (I)            QF       Wawrinka         26 63 76(3)

 

A 3rd career meeting between the 2 players. Tursunov won their only meeting in Australia 8 years ago.

 

WAWRINKA                                     v                                     TURSUNOV

 

30                                          Age                                          33

4                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                             –

12                                         Titles                                          7

103-41                     Career Grand Slam Record                      38-40

28-9                         Australian Open Record                          5-8

397-234                              Career Record                              229-207

214-128                        Career Record – Hard                        150-132

4-0                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

4-0                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

22-18                         Career Five-Set Record                          12-8

6                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

157-155                      Career Tiebreak Record                       110-88

0-0                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • 2014 Australian Open champion WAWRINKA has never lost in the 1st round here. This is his 11th Australian Open appearance and his 44th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • The last time Wawrinka lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam was at 2014 Roland Garros, when as No. 3 seed he was defeated by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. He was the first reigning Australian Open champion to lost in the 1st round of the subsequent Roland Garros since Petr Korda in 1998.

 

  • Last year here as defending champion Wawrinka reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 76(1) 36 64 46 60.

 

  • Wawrinka’s best Australian Open result is winning the title in his first Grand Slam final in 2014 (d. Rafael Nadal 63 62 36 63). He was the first player to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to a Grand Slam title since Sergei Bruguera won 1993 Roland Garros.

 

  • Wawrinka won his 2nd Grand Slam title as No. 8 seed at 2015 Roland Garros. He became the 2nd Swiss player – man or woman – in history to win Roland Garros after defeating No. 1 seed Djokovic 46 64 63 64 in the final. At 30 years 71 days, he was the oldest man to win in Paris since Andres Gomez in 1990.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Wawrinka reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon (l. Richard Gasquet) and the semifinals at the US Open (l. Roger Federer). It was the first time he had reached the quarterfinals at all 4 Grand Slams in a calendar year.

 

  • Wawrinka had a career-best season in 2015. As well as winning his 2nd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, he also won the titles at Chennai (d. Aljaz Bedene), Rotterdam (d. Tomas Berdych) and Tokyo
    (d. Benoit Paire). It was the first time he has won 4 titles in a single season. He also reached 5 further semifinals.

 

  • Wawrinka warmed up for the Australian Open by successfully defending his title at Chennai. He defeated Borna Coric in the final. It was his 12th career title and 4th at Chennai, having also won there in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

 

  • Wawrinka is currently working with Magnus Norman, who reached the semifinals here in 2000.

 

  • TURSUNOV is contesting his first Grand Slam match since the 2014 US Open and is looking for his first Grand Slam match-win since 2014 Roland Garros.

 

  • Tursunov spent 13 months out of the game due to a left foot injury after the 2014 US Open, making his comeback at 2015 Moscow where he failed to qualify in singles but won the doubles title as a wild card with Andrey Rublev. He has played just 2 other events since then, losing in the 1st round at the Ortisei Challenger (ITA) in November 2015 and in the final round of qualifying for the Bangkok Challenger
    (l. Frederik Nielsen) prior to coming here.

 

  • Tursunov is bidding to record his first Tour-level match-win since 2014 ’s-Hertogenbosch, when he defeated Bradley Klahn in the 1st round before giving a walkover to Thiemo De Bakker due to a left foot injury.

 

  • Tursunov is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the 5th time. His best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round as No. 21 seed in 2007 (l. Tomas Berdych). He fell in the 2nd round on his last appearance at Melbourne Park in 2014 (d. Michael Russell, l. Denis Istomin).

 

  • Tursunov’s best Grand Slam performance is 2 round of 16 finishes at Wimbledon in 2005 (l. Sebastien Grosjean) and as No. 27 seed in 2006 (l. Jarkko Nieminen). This is his 9th Australian Open and his 41st Grand Slam appearance.

 

  • Tursunov is bidding to end a 3-match losing streak at the Grand Slams. He has not won a match at a major since reaching the 3rd round at 2014 Roland Garros (l. Roger Federer).

 

  • Tursunov is a former Top 20 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 in October 2006, after winning his first career title at 2006 Mumbai (d. Berdych). He plays here on a protected ranking of No. 89.

 

  • Tursunov is a 7-time singles titlist. 5 of his 7 career singles titles have come on hard court – with his last title on the surface coming at 2008 Metz.

 

  • Tursunov is on an 8-match losing streak against Top 10 players. The last time he defeated a Top 10 player was at 2013 Cincinnati-1000 when he defeated No. 4 David Ferrer. He is bidding for his 3rd victory over a Top 10 player at a major – and his first since he defeated No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic at 2006 Wimbledon.

 

  • Tursunov entered the men’s doubles here with Alexandr Dolgopolov. The pair will play No. 16 seeds Pablo Cuevas/Marcel Granollers in the 1st round. Tursunov has won 7 career doubles titles.

 

  • Tursunov is coached by Vitaly Gorin at the Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento. His fitness trainer is Jason Stacy.

 

 

5 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) v FERNANDO VERDASCO (ESP)

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 14-2

2005     Doha                            Hard (O)           R16      Nadal               62 64

2005     AMS Miami                   Hard (O)           R32      Nadal               62 62

2005     Stuttgart                       Clay (O)           R16      Nadal               63 62

2006     Queen’s                        Grass (O)         R16      Nadal               26 76(3) 76(3)

2007     AMS Indian Wells         Hard (O)           R32      Nadal               64 64

2008     Roland Garros             Clay (O)           R16      Nadal               61 60 62

2009     Australian Open          Hard (O)          SF        Nadal               67(4) 64 76(2) 67(1) 64

2009     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)           QF       Nadal               63 63

2009     Madrid-1000                 Clay (O)           QF       Nadal               64 75

2010     Monte Carlo-1000         Clay (O)           FR        Nadal               60 61

2010     US Open                      Hard (O)          QF       Nadal               75 63 64

2011     Cincinnati-1000             Hard (O)           R16      Nadal               76(5) 67(4) 76(9)

2012     Barcelona                     Clay (O)           SF        Nadal               60 64

2012     Madrid-1000                 Clay (O)           R16      Verdasco          63 36 75

2015     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)           R32      Verdasco          64 26 63

2015     Hamburg                      Clay (O)           R32      Nadal               36 61 61

 

Nadal and Verdasco have met at the Australian Open once before in the 2009 semifinals – their epic 5-set match lasted for 5 hours 14 minutes and is the 2nd longest match (in terms of duration) in Australian Open history. Nadal went on to win his only Australian Open title that year while for Verdasco it is his best Grand Slam performance and saw him break the Top 10 for the first time as a result. This is a 4th Grand Slam meeting for the 2 players but their first since the 2010 US Open.

 

Nadal leads the head-to-head 14-2 but Verdasco has won 2 of their last 3 match-ups, ending a 13-match losing streak to Nadal at 2012 Madrid-1000. Nadal has also won 6 of their 7 hard court encounters and all of their previous meetings at the majors.

 

Nadal and Verdasco are 2 of the 16 lefthanders to start in the men’s main draw. Nadal was the last lefthander to win the title here in 2009. They are also 2 of the 15 Spanish men to start in this year’s draw. Spain has the highest representation of any nation here.

 

NADAL                                         v                                     VERDASCO

 

29                                          Age                                          32

5                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            45

67                                         Titles                                          6

198-29                     Career Grand Slam Record                      91-50

45-9                         Australian Open Record                        20-12

771-161                              Career Record                              430-311

367-108                        Career Record – Hard                        195-164

4-1                                   2016 Record                                   1-1

4-1                              2016 Record – Hard                              1-1

17-6                          Career Five-Set Record                         21-18

3                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         5

192-120                      Career Tiebreak Record                      164-173

0-1                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            2-0

 

  • 2009 champion NADAL is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 2nd round at the Australian Open. This is his 11th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 44th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Nadal is bidding to win his 2nd Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions [see Preview page 2].

 

  • Last year here Nadal lost to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. It ended Nadal’s 17-match winning streak against Berdych which was the joint longest winning streak in a Tour-level head-to-head.

 

  • In 2015, Nadal won 3 titles at Buenos Aires (d. Juan Monaco), Stuttgart (d. Viktor Troicki) and Hamburg
    (d. Fabio Fognini). This is the joint fewest titles he has won in a season since 2004 when he won one title. It was also the first year he failed to win a Grand Slam title since 2004.

 

  • At the majors in 2015, Nadal lost in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic. It was just his second defeat in 95 best-of-5 set matches and ended his 39-match winning streak at the French Open. He lost to qualifier Dustin Brown in the 2nd round at Wimbledon and to Fabio Fognini in the 3rd round at the US Open.
  • Nadal is looking to win his 15th Grand Slam title and close the gap on Federer in the list of all-time Grand Slam title holders. He is currently joint-2nd with Pete Sampras on the list behind Federer (17). He was one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start this year’s men’s main draw.

 

  • Nadal’s best performance at the Australian Open was winning the title in 2009 (d. Federer). He also reached the final in 2012, losing to Djokovic in the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at 5 hours, 53 minutes, and in 2014 (l. Stan Wawrinka).

 

  • Nadal has never lost in the 1st round at the Australian Open. He has only lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam once before – to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon.

 

  • Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open at Doha, where he lost in the final to Djokovic.

 

  • Nadal is coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, and his fitness trainer is Rafael Maymo.

 

  • Lefthander VERDASCO is contesting his 13th consecutive Australian Open and his 51st Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Verdasco recorded his best Grand Slam result here in 2009, when he lost to today’s opponent in the semifinals.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2015, Verdasco reached the 3rd round at the Australian Open (l. Novak Djokovic) and at Wimbledon (l. Stan Wawrinka) but fell in the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Benjamin Becker) and the US Open (l. Milos Raonic).

 

  • Verdasco’s best results in 2015 were reaching the semifinals at Ecuador (l. Feliciano Lopez) and Houston (l. Sam Querrey). He recorded back-to-back wins at just 6 tournaments and ended the year ranked No. 47, his lowest year-end ranking for 12 years.

 

  • Verdasco warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (d. Malek Jaziri, l. Djokovic).

 

  • Verdasco has won 6 career singles titles, most recently at 2014 Houston (d. Nicolas Almagro). 2 of his titles have come on hard court – at 2009 New Haven and 2010 San Jose. He is a former Top 10 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2009, but plays here at No. 47.

 

  • Verdasco has played at every Grand Slam event since making his debut at 2003 Wimbledon. This is his 51st straight major. Only 2 men have a longer active streak: Roger Federer (65) and Feliciano Lopez (56).

 

  • Verdasco entered the men’s doubles here with Robin Haase. They will play Colin Fleming/Jonathan Erlich in the 1st round. Verdasco has won 7 career doubles titles.

 

  • Verdasco is coached by David Sanchez and Sergio Perez. His fitness trainers are Jesus Rivera-Huidobro and Claudio Soliva.

 

 

8 DAVID FERRER (ESP) v (Q) PETER GOJOWCZYK (GER)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

FERRER                                        v                                   GOJOWCZYK

 

33                                          Age                                          26

8                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                           223

26                                         Titles                                          0

130-51                     Career Grand Slam Record                       2-5

35-13                        Australian Open Record                          0-3

659-313                              Career Record                               10-15

308-166                        Career Record – Hard                            8-9

2-2                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

2-2                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

20-11                         Career Five-Set Record                          1-2

4                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

148-131                      Career Tiebreak Record                          7-7

1-0                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • FERRER is contesting his 14th successive Australian Open and his 52nd Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Ferrer has not lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam event since 2005 Wimbledon, where as No. 17 seed he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. He fell in the 1st round here on his Grand Slam debut in 2003 (l. Hyung-Taik Lee) and again in 2005 (l. David Nalbandian).

 

  • Ferrer’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the final as No. 4 seed at 2013 Roland Garros, where he lost in straight sets to Nadal. At 31 years 68 days, he was the 4th oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final.

 

  • Ferrer’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the semifinals as No. 7 seed in 2011 (l. Andy Murray) and as No. 4 seed in 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Last year here Ferrer reached the round of 16, losing to Kei Nishikori. Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Ferrer reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Murray) and the 3rd round at the US Open
    (l. Jeremy Chardy). He missed Wimbledon with an elbow injury, ending a run of 50 straight Grand Slam appearances.

 

  • Ferrer warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Auckland, losing to Jack Sock. He fell in the 1st round at Doha to Illya Marchenko.

 

  • Ferrer finished 2015 at No. 7 in the rankings – the 6th consecutive year he has finished in the Top 10. He won 5 titles in 2015, the most titles he has won in a calendar year since 2012. He won the titles at Doha
    (d. Tomas Berdych), Rio de Janeiro (d. Fabio Fognini), Acapulco (d. Kei Nishikori), Kuala Lumpur
    (d. Feliciano Lopez) and Vienna (d. Steve Johnson). He played just one event between Roland Garros and the US Open due to an elbow injury.

 

  • Ferrer started working with Francisco Fogues in 2015.

 

  • Qualifier GOJOWCZYK is looking for his first match-win at the Australian Open. This is his 4th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 6th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Gojowczyk has lost in the 1st round in all 3 of his previous appearances at the Australian Open – as a qualifier in 2012 (l. Donald Young) and 2014 (l. Victor Hanescu), and he retired with cramping as a direct acceptance in 2015 (l. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez). He failed to qualify here in 2013.

 

  • Gojowczyk defeated Brydan Klein (GBR) 75 62, Frances Tiafoe (USA) 63 62 and Alexander Kudryavtsev (RUS) 36 76(3) 62 in the 3 rounds of qualifying.
  • The only other Grand Slam event Gojowczyk has contested is the US Open, where he reached the 2nd round as a qualifier in both 2013 (l. Evgeny Donskoy) and 2014 (l. Milos Raonic). At the majors in 2015, he lost in the 1st round at the Australian Open and failed to qualify at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Gojowczyk fell in the 1st round at the Happy Valley Challenger (AUS) (l. Alexander Sarkissian).

 

  • Gojowyczk’s best results in 2015 came on the Challenger Circuit. He won the title at Nan Chang (CHN)
    (d. Amir Weintraub) and reached the semifinals at Ningbo (l. Yen-Hsun Lu). He played in 3 Tour-level events, winning just one match at Chennai (d. Alejandro Falla, l. Roberto Bautista Agut).

 

  • Gojowyczk is looking for his 2nd victory over a Top 10 player, having defeated No. 9 Raonic at 2014 Halle. He has a 1-3 win-loss record against Top 10 players overall.

 

  • Gojowczyk is coached by Lars Uebel. He trains at the Sport-Scheck Allwetteranlage in Munich.

 

 

13 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v LUCAS POUILLE (FRA)

Head-to-head: Raonic leads 1-0
2016     Brisbane           Hard (O)           QF       Raonic              64 64

 

A 2nd straight meeting in Australia this month for the 2 players. Raonic defeated Pouille en route to winning his 8th career title at Brisbane.

 

RAONIC                                        v                                       POUILLE

 

25                                          Age                                          21

14                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            90

8                                          Titles                                          0

43-19                      Career Grand Slam Record                       1-7

14-5                         Australian Open Record                          0-2

211-103                              Career Record                               18-23

154-64                         Career Record – Hard                          12-14

4-0                                   2016 Record                                   2-1

4-0                              2016 Record – Hard                              2-1

5-4                           Career Five-Set Record                          0-1

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

137-88                       Career Tiebreak Record                         13-5

2-1                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            1-0

 

  • RAONIC is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 2nd round here.

 

  • Last year here as No. 8 seed Raonic recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the quarterfinals (l. Novak Djokovic). This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 20th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2015, Raonic reached the 3rd round at both Wimbledon (l. Nick Kyrgios) and the US Open (l. Feliciano Lopez). He missed Roland Garros with a right foot injury, which required surgery in May 2015.

 

  • Raonic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals as No. 8 seed at 2014 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). He became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Robert Powell at 1908 Wimbledon.

 

  • Raonic’s best result in 2015 was winning the title at St. Petersburg (d. Joao Sousa). He also finished as runner-up at Brisbane (l. Federer) and reached the semifinals at Indian Wells-1000 and Rotterdam. He ended his season after Shanghai-1000 in October due to a hip injury.

 

  • Raonic reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in May 2015 after reaching the quarterfinals at Madrid-1000 (l. Andy Murray). He finished the year in the Top 20 for the 4th straight year and plays here at No. 14.

 

  • Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 8th career title as No. 4 seed at Brisbane, avenging his defeat to Federer in the 2015 final with his 2nd career victory over the Swiss. All 8 of Raonic’s career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Raonic became the first Canadian to be seeded in the men’s singles at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era at 2011 Roland Garros. He plays here seeded No. 13 – his lowest Grand Slam seeding since 2013 Wimbledon.

 

  • Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.

 

  • Raonic started working with former world No. 1 Carlos Moya at the 2016 Australian Open. Moya finished runner-up here in 1997 before going on to win Roland Garros in 1998. He is also coached by Riccardo Piatti.

 

  • POUILLE is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Pouille’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the 2nd round on his Grand Slam debut as a wild card at 2013 Roland Garros (l. Grigor Dimitrov). It was his first Tour-level match-win.

 

  • Pouille has lost in the 1st round in 6 of his 7 Grand Slam appearances – including as a wild card here in both 2014 (d. Alex Kuznetsov, l. Dusan Lajovic) and 2015, when he fell to Gael Monfils in his only career 5-set match to date. He failed to qualify here in 2013.

 

  • Pouille warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane (l. today’s opponent). It was just the 6th time he has won back-to-back matches at Tour-level.

 

  • Pouille is bidding to defeat a player ranked in the Top 20 for the 3rd time. Pouille has a 2-6 win-loss record against Top 20 opposition, having defeated No. 20 Fabio Fognini at 2014 Paris-1000 and No. 16 David Goffin for the best win of his career at 2016 Brisbane.

 

  • Pouille’s best results in 2015 were reaching his first Tour-level semifinals – as a lucky loser at Auckland
    (l. Adrian Mannarino) and as a qualifier at Hamburg (l. Fabio Fognini). He also reached quarterfinals at St. Petersburg and Moscow, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut on both occasions, and finished as runner-up at the Mouilleron Le Captif Challenger (FRA).

 

  • Pouille reached a career-high ranking of No. 23 on the junior circuit. He reached the quarterfinals of the boys’ event at the 2011 Australian Open and the 2nd round as a wild card at 2010 junior Roland Garros. He was a member of the French team that finished runner-up to USA at the 2008 World Junior Tennis Finals.

 

  • Pouille entered the men’s doubles event here with Adrian Mannarino. The pair will play Victor Estrella Burgos/Santiago Giraldo in the 1st round.

 

  • Pouille is coached by Emmanuel Planque.

 

16 BERNARD TOMIC (AUS) v DENIS ISTOMIN (UZB)

Head-to-head: Tomic leads 3-1

2012     Brisbane                       Hard (O)           QF       Tomic               63 76(4)
2012     Monte Carlo-1000         Clay (O)           R64      Tomic               64 63

2013     Davis Cup                     Clay (I)             R4        Tomic               46 62 62 63

2014     Washington                  Hard (O)           R32      Istomin             64 76(6)

 

TOMIC                                                   v                              ISTOMIN

 

23                                          Age                                          29

17                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            59

3                                          Titles                                          1

30-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                      28-30

12-7                         Australian Open Record                          7-9

133-117                              Career Record                              185-190

99-74                          Career Record – Hard                        107-119

4-2                                   2016 Record                                   0-2

4-2                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-2

7-2                           Career Five-Set Record                          11-6

2                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         2

80-64                        Career Tiebreak Record                        92-79

2-2                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • TOMIC is bidding to record his 100th career hard court match-win today.

 

  • Tomic is bidding to reach the 2nd round at the Australian Open for the 7th time. This is his 8th consecutive appearance at the Australian Open and his 25th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Tomic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals as a qualifier at 2011 Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic). He was the youngest man since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
  • Tomic’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the round of 16 in 2012 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Tomas Berdych).

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Tomic reached the 3rd round at Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic) and the US Open (l. Richard Gasquet) and fell in the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Thanasi Kokkinakis).

 

  • Also in 2015, Tomic defended his title at Bogota (d. Adrian Mannarino) and reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Donald Young). All of Tomic’s 3 career singles titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Tomic warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic) and the quarterfinals at Sydney, where he retired with fatigue and dizziness while trailing Teymuraz Gabashvili 63 3-0. He plays here on a career-high ranking of No. 17.

 

  • Tomic is one of 9 Australians starting in the men’s draw here. He is looking to become the first native champion to win the Australian Open men’s singles title since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

 

  • Tomic is one of 8 former junior Australian Open champions in the draw. He won the 2008 Australian Open boys’ title aged 15 years 3 months, defeating Yang Tsung-Hua in the final. He was the youngest winner of the title since Ken Rosewall in 1950. He also won the 2009 US Open boys’ singles title (d. Chase Buchanan). Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era. He captured the boys’ singles title in 1983, before winning the men’s singles in 1985 and 1987.

 

  • Tomic is coached by his father John.

 

  • ISTOMIN is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the 6th time.

 

  • Istomin is looking to record his first match-win of 2016. Prior to coming here Istomin lost in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Mikhail Kukushkin) and Sydney (Andreas Seppi).

 

  • Last year here Istomin fell to Seppi in 5-sets in the 1st round. He has lost to Seppi in both of his 2 five-set matches at Melbourne Park but has an 11-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall.

 

  • Istomin’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round here in 2010 and 2014, losing to Novak Djokovic on both occasions. He is contesting his 10th Australian Open and his 31st Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Istomin’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the round of 16 at 2012 Wimbledon (l. Mikhail Youzhny) and the 2013 US Open (l. Andy Murray). He is the only Uzbek player (man or woman) to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Istomin’s best result at the Grand Slams in 2015 was reaching the 2nd round at the US Open, where he retired with a right leg injury against Dominic Thiem. He fell in the 1st round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros (l. Nick Kyrgios) and Wimbledon, where he retired with fatigue against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

 

  • Istomin’s best result in 2015 was winning his first Tour-level singles title at Nottingham (d. Sam Querrey). He reached 3 further quarterfinals at Montpellier, Bastad and St. Petersburg and finished the year ranked inside the Top 100 for the 6th straight year. He plays here ranked No. 59.

 

  • Istomin has won just one of his 14 previous matches against Top 20 opposition at the Grand Slams. His only win over a Top 20 player at a major came against No. 15 Nicolas Almagro at the 2013 US Open. He is on a 4-match losing streak against Top 20 players at Tour-level, with his last win over a Top 20 opponent coming against Ernests Gulbis at 2015 Dubai.

 

  • Istomin entered the men’s doubles here with Aliaksandr Bury. The pair will play No. 14 seeds Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi in the 1st round. Istomin has won 3 doubles titles, including one with Bury in their 2nd tournament together at 2015 Gstaad.

 

  • Istomin broke his leg in a car accident in 2001 while travelling to a Futures event in Tashkent. He spent 3 months in hospital and did not touch a racket in 2 years, with doctors doubting he would ever play competitive tennis again.

 

  • Istomin has received support from the Grand Slam Development Fund, receiving travel grants in 2004.

 

  • Istomin is coached by his mother Klaudiya Istomina.

 

 

(WC) JAMES DUCKWORTH (AUS) v (WC) LLEYTON HEWITT (AUS)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

Duckworth and Hewitt are 2 of the 9 Australian men to start in the main draw here vying to become the first homegrown champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976. This is just the 2nd all-Australian 1st round match-up at Melbourne Park since 2004. The most recent one in 2013 also featured Duckworth, who defeated Benjamin Mitchell in 5 sets for his first 5-set match-win.

 

DUCKWORTH                                   v                                        HEWITT

 

23*                                          Age                                          34

129                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                           308

0                                          Titles                                         30

4-12                       Career Grand Slam Record                     147-63

3-4                          Australian Open Record                        31-19

16-30                                Career Record                              615-261

12-22                          Career Record – Hard                        371-157

1-2                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

1-2                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

3-4                           Career Five-Set Record                         32-25

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         6

15-15                        Career Tiebreak Record                      171-157

0-1                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

                                                                                       *Turns 24 on 21 January

 

  • Wild card DUCKWORTH is looking to reach the 2nd round here and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Duckworth earned a wild card into the main draw after winning the Australian Open wild card play-off. His final opponent, Benjamin Mitchell, withdrew ahead of the final to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their first child.

 

  • This is Duckworth’s 5th straight Australian Open appearance and his 13th Grand Slam overall. He has lost in the 1st round in 8 of his 12 previous appearances at the majors, including as a wild card here in 2014
    (l. Roger Federer).

 

  • Duckworth’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the 2nd round at Melbourne Park as a wild card in 2012 (d. Jurgen Zopp, l. Janko Tipsarevic), 2013 (d. Benjamin Mitchell, l. Blaz Kavcic) and 2015 (d. Kavcic,
    Richard Gasquet), and as a direct acceptance at 2015 Wimbledon (d. Malek Jaziri, l. Sam Groth).

 

  • Elsewhere at the majors in 2015, Duckworth lost in 5-sets in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Andrea Arnaboldi), and at the US Open (l. Hyeon Chung).

 

  • Duckworth’s best results last year came on the Challenger Circuit. He reached the final at Kolkata (IND)
    (l. Radu Albot) and the semifinals at San Luis Potosi (MEX) (l. Guido Pella). He reached 2 Tour-level quarterfinals at Brisbane and Nice. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 82 in April but plays here at No. 129.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Duckworth reached the 2nd round as a wild card at Sydney (d. Inigo Cervantes Huegun, l. Jeremy Chardy) and lost in the 1st round as a wild card at Brisbane to Dominic Thiem. He reached his first career doubles final at Brisbane with Chris Guccione, losing to Henri Kontinen/John Peers.

 

  • Duckworth has entered the men’s doubles event here as a wild card with countryman John Millman. The pair will face Lukas Dlouhy/Jiri Vesely in the 1st round.

 

  • Duckworth reached the 2010 Australian Open boys’ singles quarterfinals as a wild card (l. Gianni Mina). He also reached the semifinals of the boys’ singles event at Roland Garros and reached a career-high junior ranking of No. 7 in July 2010.

 

  • Duckworth’s grandmother Beryl Penrose was women’s singles champion at the 1955 Australian Championships.
  • Duckworth is coached by Ben Mathias. His physical trainer is Ian Prangley.

 

  • 2005 Australian Open runner-up HEWITT is making his 20th – and final – Australian Open appearance, extending his record for the most Australian Open appearances ahead of Fabrice Santoro (18) [see Preview page 3]. He is in joint-4th place in the list for the most appearances at a single Grand Slam.

 

  • Hewitt is also making his 66th Grand Slam appearance overall, which puts him in 3rd place for the most Grand Slams played in the Open Era after Fabrice Santoro and Roger Federer [see Preview page 5].

 

  • In his 19 previous appearances at Melbourne Park, Hewitt has fallen in the 1st round 7 times.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Hewitt teamed with Jarmila Wolfe as the Australia Gold team at Hopman Cup. Hewitt defeated Jack Sock but lost to Jiri Vesely and Alexandr Dolgopolov in the round-robin.

 

  • At last year’s Australian Open, Hewitt lost in the 2nd round in 5-sets to Benjamin Becker. He is on a 6-match losing streak in 5-set matches. Hewitt has a 7-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open and a 32-25 5-set win-loss record overall. He hasn’t won a 5-set match at Melbourne Park since defeating Marcos Baghdatis in the 3rd round in 2008 in a match that finished at 4:34am.

 

  • All 3 of Hewitt’s Grand Slam appearances in 2015 ended in 5-set defeats. As well as losing to Becker in the 2nd round here, he lost to Jarkko Nieminen in the 1st round as a wild card at Wimbledon in a match where the final set finished 11-9, and to Bernard Tomic as a wild card in the 2nd round at the US Open. He did not play at Roland Garros.

 

  • Hewitt is a former Grand Slam champion, having won the 2001 US Open (d. Pete Sampras) and 2002 Wimbledon (d. David Nalbandian). He was one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start in the men’s main draw here.

 

  • Hewitt finished runner-up here in 2005, becoming the first Australian to reach an Australian Open final since Pat Cash in 1988. He lost to Marat Safin 16 63 64 64 and had carried a hip flexor injury throughout the whole tournament.

 

  • Hewitt has entered the men’s doubles event here with Sam Groth. The pair will play Dusan Lajovic/Viktor Troicki in the 1st round.

 

  • In Davis Cup play in 2015, Hewitt helped Australia to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2006, where they lost to eventual champions Great Britain 3-2. He has been named as Australia’s Davis Cup captain and his first tie in charge will be against USA in Kooyong on 4-6 March.

 

  • Outside of the Grand Slams and Davis Cup, Hewitt played a limited schedule in 2015, contesting just 6 other tournaments. He won 4 matches all year – 2 at the Grand Slams, one in Davis Cup and one at Washington. He plays here ranked No. 308.

 

  • Hewitt is coached by Tony Roche and Jaymon Crabb.

 

 

ADRIAN MANNARINO (FRA) v SAM GROTH (AUS)

 

Head-to-head: first Tour-level meeting

2007     Great Britain     Futures             Hard (I)             R32     Groth               64 76(4)

2014     Knoxville           Challenger        Hard (I)             FR        Mannarino        36 76(6) 64

 

 

MANNARINO                                    v                                        GROTH

 

27                                          Age                                          28

48                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            67

0                                          Titles                                          0

16-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                       6-8

3-6                          Australian Open Record                          2-3

77-109                               Career Record                               32-43

54-73                          Career Record – Hard                          19-32

0-1                                   2016 Record                                   0-2

0-1                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-2

3-3                           Career Five-Set Record                          1-0

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

34-47                        Career Tiebreak Record                        36-29

  • 2016 Tiebreak Record                                  0-3

 

  • Lefthander MANNARINO is bidding to reach the 2nd round and equal his best Australian Open performance. He reached the 2nd round here in 2011 (d. Ryan Harrison, l. Richard Gasquet), 2014
    (d. Steve Johnson, l. David Ferrer) and 2015 (d. Blaz Rola, l. Feliciano Lopez). Last year he retired in the 2nd round with illness.

 

  • Mannarino’s best Grand Slam performance is a round of 16 finish at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Lukas Kubot) – one of just 3 times he has advanced beyond the 2nd round at a Grand Slam in 23 previous appearances. This is his 7th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 24th major overall.

 

  • At the majors in 2015, Mannarino reached the 2nd round at the Australian Open, Wimbledon (d. Michael Berrer, l. Gael Monfils) and the US Open (d. Konstantin Kravchuk, l. Andy Murray) but fell in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Jurgen Melzer). He led Murray by 2-sets-to-love at the US Open before falling in 5-sets. His 5-set win-loss record is 3-3.

 

  • Elsewhere in 2015, Mannarino reached his first Tour-level final at Auckland (l. Jiri Vesely) and also finished as runner-up at Bogota (l. Bernard Tomic). He reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Ivo Karlovic). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 27 after his run to the final at Bogota and plays here at No. 48.

 

  • Mannarino warmed-up for the Australian Open by winning the Noumea Challenger (CAL) (d. Alejandro Falla) but lost in the 1st round at Sydney to Nicolas Mahut.

 

  • Mannarino is coached by Marc Gicquel, who reached the 3rd round here in 2008. His fitness trainer is Pascal Supiot from the French Tennis Federation.

 

  • GROTH is looking for his first match-win of 2016. He is on a 5-match losing streak having not won a Tour-level match since the 2015 US Open.

 

  • Groth recorded his best Grand Slam performance here last year when he reached the 3rd round
    (l. Bernard Tomic). He also reached the 3rd round at 2015 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). This is his 4th Australian Open appearance and his 9th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Also at the Grand Slams last year, Groth reached the 2nd round at the US Open (d. Alexandr Dolgopolov, l. Tommy Robredo) but lost in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Pablo Cuevas).

 

  • Groth’s best results in 2015 were quarterfinals finishes at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic), Stuttgart (l. Viktor Troicki) and Washington (l. Kei Nishikori). He won 2 Challenger titles at Taipei (TPE) (d. Konstantin Kravchuk) and Manchester (GBR) (d. Luke Saville). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 53 in August but plays here ranked No. 67.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Groth lost in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Hyeon Chung) and Sydney
    (l. Federico Delbonis). His defeat to Delbonis at Sydney ended a run of 5 straight victories over lefthanded players. He has an 8-4 win-loss record against lefthanded players overall.

 

  • Also in 2015, Groth helped Australia reach the Davis Cup World Group semifnals, where they lost to eventual champions Great Britain 3-2. In the quarterfinals against Kazakhstan, he won the doubles rubber with Hewitt and the 1st reverse singles rubber against Mikhail Kukushkin as Australia fought back from 0-2 down to record a historic win.

 

  • Groth has entered the men’s doubles event here with Hewitt. They will play Dusan Lajovic/Viktor Troicki in the 1st round.

 

  • Groth was one of 9 Australian men to start in the main draw here vying to be the first homegrown champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

 

  • Groth is coached by Ben Mathias.

 

 

All statistics courtesy of Grand Slam Media and the Australia Open Men’s information team.

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Paire, Stosur, Thiem, Tsurenko and Tomic Win Tennis Titles This Week

Samantha Stosur

Samantha Stosur

(July 26, 2015) Benoit Paire, Samantha StosurDominik Thiem, Lesia Tsurenko and Bernard Tomic were the singles winners on the tennis tour this weekend.

France’s Paire joined the winner’s circle for the first time, claiming the ATP World Tour title at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad when he turned back Spain’s Tommy Robredo 7-6(7), 6-3. Paire is the sixth first-time winner on the men’s tour this year.

“It’s a perfect week,” Paire said. “The conditions today were not easy, but I’m really happy to win against Tommy. He’s a very good player. To play against him in the final and to beat him is a dream, so I’m very happy.

“It was a lot of pressure…  I hope it’s not the last one for me.”

Samantha Stosur rallied to win her second WTA title of the year and eighth overall after defeating Karin Knapp of Italy 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the final of the Gastein Ladies on Sunday. The Australian and former US Open champion also won the Strasbourg event back in May.

In a final which featured two unseeded players, Lesia Tsurenko won her first WTA title, besting Urszula Radwanska 7-5, 6-1 to win the Istanbul Cup.

“I’m so happy I could win here and show good tennis,” said the Ukrainian.

“That’s my goal, getting good results and showing good tennis.”

Austria’s Dominik Thiem won his second career ATP World Tour title, besting Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-1 to win the Croatia Open

“Today was very special day,” Thiem said. “We were watched by world’s number one Novak Djokovic,” Thiem said. “Usually he is the one who entertains us with great tennis and today we turned it around.”

“It is really special to win here after playing juniors matches in this stadium,” said Thiem who became the first Austrian to win this title since Thomas Muster did it twenty years ago. “I will have a nice dinner with my friends tonight to celebrate. It won’t be a big party for me as I have to drive eight hours to go to Gstaad tomorrow.”

Second seed Bernard Tomic defended his Claro Open Colombia title in Bogota, beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

“It’s been a very good year,” Tomic said. “I started at No. 70 and am now close to No. 20. It’s been a good seven months. I’ll try to play well the next three months and have the chance to be in the Top 15.

“Every title you remember. I’m very happy to have won my third title and to defend it here was amazing. I’m really happy with myself… This is my most consistent year.”

The 22-year-old Australian, ranked 29th,  is now 9-0 at the tournament.

 

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Kyrgios Saves a Match Point to Join Nadal and Berdych in Australian Open Quarterfinals

Kyrgios

(January 25, 2015) Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios rocked the jam-packed Hisense Arena on Sunday in Melbourne Park coming back from two sets down and saving a match point by beating Roger Federer conqueror Andreas Seppi 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 8-6 to reach the quarterfinals. Seppi knocked out Federer in the third round.

He is now the first Australian to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on the men’s side since 2005. The 19-year-old also becomes the first male teenager since Roger Federer to reach two Grand Slam quarterfinals. Kyrgios reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year defeating then No. 1 Rafael Nadal along the way.

After the match in an on-court interview Kyrgios said to the crowd, “Thanks mate. Feels so good.”

“I know that he (Seppi) had a lot of confidence, obviously, beating Roger,” Kyrgios said. “Drawing all my experience from Wimbledon, coming back from two sets down, I knew I had the legs to do that.”

“I knew it was going to be a tough battle. He’s playing some of the best tennis he’s played ever since coming off that win against Roger. I knew it was going to be tough from the get-go. I just had to draw on my experiences of coming back from two sets to love. Paid off in the end.”

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. When I saw I had finally won the match it was incredible. It was the best feeling I ever had. To know the body could come back from two sets to love, knowing I haven’t had matches, it’s just massive confidence.”

“As you all know – you’ve been asking about my back a fair bit – that’s a bit sore. Physically I thought my legs pulled up well throughout the whole match. I got a bit tired halfway through the fifth set, you know, I guess just by being out on the court. Being in that atmosphere is pretty tiring, but I knew he’d be feeling the same way. He’s never reached a quarterfinal before. All those thoughts going through his head. I think I had to draw on that. I just stuck in there.”

“I think I just played a couple bad games at the beginning of the third set, Seppi said. “I missed three easy forehands for the break for him. And, yeah, maybe he played a little bit more relaxed after that. Yeah, I think maybe if I could stay even in the third set it’s a little bit already change.”

The young Australian will play Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. The seventh seed Murray won the last five games of the match to take out Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5

Asked about the potential match against Murray or Dimitrov, Kyrgios said: “They’re both some of the best players in the world. Obviously for the last couple years, they’ve been in the best form of their life. Murray, I think he’s one of the greatest athletes on the tour. He’s going to make me play a lot of balls. And Dimitrov, obviously he’s got unbelievable talent, can come forward, can transition, returns well, mixes it up well. They’re both great players. I’m just excited to go up against either one of those guys.”

2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych will match-up in the final eight.

Nadal fended off six break points in the first set before changing the momentum and passing Keven Anderson 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. Nadal will play No. 7 Berdych next. Berdych took out another Australian hope Bernard Tomic 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

“The chance to be in the quarterfinals after a tough period of time for me is a fantastic result,” said Nadal. “But for me quarterfinals is a great result, talking seriously. Arriving here, losing in the first round of Qatar, not playing matches for the last seven months, to have the chance to be in quarterfinals again here is a very positive thing for me. I’m very happy for that. I am sure that going to help me for the next events. For sure I going to try my best after tomorrow. I am not a person that I am happy like this and that’s it. No. I try to play better and better every day. If that happens, I hope to keep having chances for the next match. But today is a day to be happy the way that I improved my level of everything, talking about tennis, all the things I have to do on court. I was closer today. Even if I played the first two sets the other day well, today I was much closer what I have to do to try to have success.”

More to follow….

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Tomic out, Troicki into Semi-finals of Sydney

Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic

By Dave Gertler

(January 15, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Two-time finalist, Australian Bernard Tomic, has failed to reach the semi-final of the 2015 Apia International, bowing out to world No.45 Gilles Muller in their quarter-final on Thursday.

 

The big-serving lefty from Luxembourg fired off 25 aces to Tomic’s 15 in their two sets on Ken Rosewall Arena, and was the better player in both tie-breaks, particularly in the marathon second-set tie-break which he won 15-13 to seal the match against the hometown favorite and 2013 Sydney champion.

 

“He served really well,” said Tomic, “I knew it was going to be difficult.  This is a player that has been in the last eight at majors I think four or five years back at the US Open. It was very difficult playing him. That serve is probably one of the best serves out there now that’s left handed. Not a lot of guys that can play like him.”

 

Muller has needed to play his best tennis so far at the Apia International, exacting tight wins over Sam Groth and Jeremy Chardy on his way to the quarters, and will now need to continue elevating his game if he’s to make it past an on-fire Viktor Troicki, back with a vengeance from his suspension, and seemingly attempting to make up for lost time.

 

While Tomic and Muller were on main court on Thursday evening, Troicki and Italian Simone Bolelli were battling it out on an outside show court. Although currently outside the top 50, 29-year-old Bolelli came back from a set down against Troicki by playing flawless top-20 quality tennis. After losing the first set 3-6, Bolelli manoeuvred himself into a winning position, taking the second set 6-3, and leading by a break late in the final set before Troicki’s relentless defense proved a deciding factor, allowing the Serb back into the final set, which he would win 7-5, along with the match.

 

“I was expecting pretty tough match,” said Troicki, who served 16 aces to Bolelli’s two during the 2-hour, 8-minute-long match, “I had few tough battles with Simone, who’s a good friend. I think he played great. He was unlucky at the end to lose. But I think we both played good. I was defending a lot because he was really aggressive. Yeah, I had bit more luck in the end and played some good points, played some big points pretty good. So I was happy with that. I also served well. So I’m really satisfied with the win today and happy with the result.”

 

Troicki, who lost to Gilles Simon in the 2011 Sydney final, the same year he reached his highest rank of world No. 12, is seemingly playing with a new lease on life after returning from a doping ban which left him sidelined for a year.

 

“Well, I experienced something that most of the guys don’t experience,” said Troicki, who had to play through qualifying this year, “I’ve been banned, yeah, from playing. When you cannot do something that you love and when you’re not doing it for a while you see how much you miss it and love it. Ever since I was a kid I dreamed about this, playing, competing, doing something that I love. I really love playing tennis. So I enjoy on the court much more than I used to. Yeah, it’s fun being back. All my life I was looking forward to this. I enjoy it more on the court, as I said. It’s more fun and more enjoyment on the court.”

 

An all-journeyman semi-finals has been set for Friday – Viktor Troicki versus Gilles Muller, and Leonardo Mayer versus Mikhail Kukushkin – and the Apia International will have a new men’s champion crowned on Saturday.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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